SWLCG Deck Building 101

The Good, the Bad, and the Smuggly of SWLCG
By: Alexander Lacour

I love this game. Well, I love card games, but SWLCG brings together a lot of good things from other games that make it enjoyable. Just to name a few… The characters are awesome, artwork is phenomenal, the draw mechanic is wonderful, there are no “rare” cards, and we get to play as good AND the bad guys. Now off to the article!

Deck Building 101

I’ve chosen to write about some of my deck building experiences with the hope of passing on some wisdom I’ve learned through the past year or so to you (and so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did).

First off, you have to decide what is your main purpose of the deck? Jason has asked me this countless times when I can’t seem to get a deck going like I want it. For the light side, do you want to win fast and go agro (rebel speeders or sleuth deck), win the force (Jedi with May the Force Be With You and Along the Gamor Run), set up slowly and win late game (trench run and DESPERATION), or a more control approach (smugglers love them some tactics)? Having this in mind when you whittle down your options to choose the right objectives to go in your deck.

May the Force Be With You                Along the Gamor Run

For the dark side, do you want to slow your opponent down and control what their options are (classic sith control with Vader and Palpatine), a more aggressive “I can get 4 objectives before you get 3” approach (Imperial Navy Big Boats or Fighter deck), capturing your opponents best cards (Cruel Interrogations or New Boba Fett pilot) or winning the edge (twists of fate). There are lots of options. Another great feature of the game is that all of these are viable as a tournament winning deck (except for Navy based decks – Imperial Entanglements come quickly!)

Cruel Interrogations  

After you know what kind of deck you want to build, be VERY consistent with your deck building in the beginning. Use 2 of each objective set, no single set for now. If you do this you will be able to have a better idea of what card combos work well together since you will have your greatest chance of drawing those cards. Even if there is an objective set that you know in the end you will only want one in the deck, play with two for a couple games just to make sure you know how that card will be used. I will explain more on this later.

Trial and error really is the best way to figure out if a deck is going to work. Theorizing and deck building is fun (maybe the best part of the game), but it may not work well on the play mat. Build the deck and test it out!

Last tip for you today. When starting a deck idea from scratch, start with 2 objective sets with a card or two that uses a combo that is very intriguing. Next, find another set that will combo with those cards or a different card in the objective sets already chosen. After you put the deck together and played a few times. Switch out objective sets to fix areas of your deck that are lacking.

I’ll give you an example of one of my favorite decks to illustrate these points. I’ve basically been playing some version of this since I started.

Rebel Vehicles 1.0 (Rebel Affiliation)

2x Attack Pattern Delta
2x Hoth Operations
2x Preparation for Battle
2x Defense of Yavin 4
2x Mobilize the Squadrons

I took this deck to my first tournament. I GOT SECOND PLACE… out of 3 people, but wasn’t satisfied with the deck as a whole. Jason asked me what my deck strategy was, and I couldn’t really answer him. The objective sets seemed like no brainers to me at the time. There was some good synergy. There are some 2 cost vehicles for Attack Pattern Delta, edge 1 for speeders, and Mobilize the Squadrons has a card that puts shields on your guys. That last bit goes well with Preparation for Battle. However, the deck was still a bit slow and my vehicles died quickly since they are low cost. The deck needed a revamp. I decided to go simple. I decided to go with the strategy of flooding the field with cheap vehicles and go from there. I chose objective sets that had at least 2 two cost vehicles in the set except for one.

Rebel Vehicles 2.0 (Smuggler Affiliation)

2x Attack Pattern Delta
2x Hoth Operations
2x Preparation for Battle
2x Prepare for Evacuation
2x Rogue Squadron Assault

My thinking here was that I now have 20 vehicles out 50 cards that are 2-cost. There is the obvious speeder synergy. I put y-wings with protect vehicle so that my little ships can survive for a longer period of time. Rogue Squadron Assault has Hobbie as a pilot and the objective set works well with the y-wings. The set also has the new fate card “stay on target” that lets me put pilots into play for cheaper, so Wedge gets to benefit from that card. After play testing for a while, I still wasn’t happy. I wasn’t winning the edge as often as I like and the speeder tanks in Prepare for Battle were not as important to the overall strategy of the deck. Also, having 2 Prepare for Evacuation was overkill. There isn’t much in that set other than the y-wings and the fate card that I like. Let’s try it again!

Rebel Vehicles 3.0 (Smuggler Affiliation)

2x Attack Pattern Delta
2x Hoth Operations
2x Draw Their Fire
1x Blue Squadron Support
1x Prepare for Evacuation
2x Rogue Squadron Assault

So many problems were solved with this list. There is a CLEAR strategy – swarm the field and win the edge. Draw Their Fire has 2 two cost vehicles and Ackbar who is a game changer when he enters an engagement from your hand. Blue Squadron Support has 2 two cost vehicles who are very strong. Plus, these new objectives can benefit from Rogue Squadron Assault’s ability.

I hope this read helped you guys somewhat. Don’t give up an idea too soon. Play test when you can and find that list you are happy with before moving on to the next great idea. Or you can forget everything I said and copy a list online from a tournament winner.

See you next Saturday at Big Easy Comics!